Pros:involvement, opportunity to make new friends, skills learned
The Bottom Line: My final recommendation is that you try out Student Government to see if it is something you are interested in. It could change your life.
After being involved in the Hall Governments at Washington State University for the past 2 and a half years, I am left wondering if the time that I spent on it was actually worth it. To fully understand that, I guess I need to explain what I expected when I got involved.
When I was asked to run for a position that had been vacated by a person the previous semester, I was under the impression that I would be stepping into a position that would actually be able to make a difference. Never having been involved in Government while I was in high school, this was a completely brand-new thing to me, and I was unprepared for everything that was to be thrust upon me.
The thing that makes the least amount of sense to me is the need to use "back-door politics" on a daily basis. What "back-door politics" are is where you try and get someone to share your viewpoint before you try to attain money or man-power for a given event or project. An example of this would be getting a large group of people to support giving $500.00 to a dance and then having those people take their votes to the Residence Hall Association Council. This is just one example of what goes on frequently. The downside to this though, is that there is a lot of back-stabbing that goes on as well.
Overall the Government's of all of the Halls always seem to start out with great intentions, but lots of times those intentions end up becoming too competitive. Rather than having fun and enjoying themselves often people get caught up in the quest to do something bigger and better than another Hall has done. This is extremely evident in the yearly "Hall of The Year" competition. What is basically boils down to is who can write the best report about what their Hall has done for the year. Public Relations plays a big part in this as the people who vote on it are only able to see most things from the outside rather than having dealt with all the Halls going for the trophy.
Now that I have vented about the bad stuff, I must talk about all of the good things that Residence Hall Governments have to offer as well. Many of them are active in the community and go as far as helping the less fortunate, and visiting elders that live within the city. Many people who get involved with Government are striving to find people that they can help, and also to make the campus here a better place to live. At Washington State University there are a lot of people who are attempting to better themselves and those around them, but sometimes it seems as if people try to hard.
The reason that I am going to give the RHA of Washington State University a 5 rating, is because of all that it has to offer, and not just because of some of its downfalls. It gives the opportunity for people to get involved and also gives the chance to learn some skills that could be needed in the outside world after college. The ability to work through problems, teamwork, and brainstorming ideas are just some of the things that it has to offer.
Not everyone who is involved in Student Government is just in it for themselves, and if anyone is planning on attending Washington State University, I recommend giving it a try.
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